The Thames sailing barge Cambria arriving at Faversham for restoration. Photos by Bob Telford
Thames sailing barge Cambria has been brought to Standard Quay in Faversham for restoration and rebuilding, and from these photos there’s clearly going to be a lot of work to do.
The Cambria is arguably the most famous of all the Thames barges, partly because she was the last British registered vessel to carry a commercial cargo under sail. In fact, she worked under sail without any kind of engine right up until 1970, and so forms a unique part of our industrial and maritime heritage. But that’s only part of her story, for the Cambria’s skipper was also a national treasure for his collection of songs and his way of singing them. See this very nice article about him by members of his family: http://www.eatmt.org.uk/bob_roberts.htm
Cambria is a wooden Thames sailing barge built at Greenhithe, Kent in 1906. Her National Lottery-funded restoration will cost a £1 million or so, but when fully restored, she will moor at a variety of locations throughout the Thames, Medway and Swale where she will be used for sail training, environmental training, and education in social and economic history for junior school children. It seems a new audience will be taught how she traded under sail alone, and in today’s terms she must have been a a supreme example of environmentally-friendly transport.
Thanks for the photos Bob Telford!
Read more about the Cambria here:
The Wikipedia has some good stuff about Thames sailing barges in general, including some comments about the Cambria. I’d certainly like to be able to attend Dick Durham’s lecture! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thames_sailing_barge